Shibori on cashmere

About a year ago I picked up a slightly grubby cream cashmere scarf at a car boot sale for £1. I had an idea that I would use it for shibori in some way, but after washing it I put it away somewhere and promptly forgot about it – too many other ideas to pursue!

Then while clearing out the house in readiness for the decorators to come in after the flood, I found it again.

Ever since reading about this technique for making a wood grain patterned shawl I’d wanted to try it – but I thought I’d better practise on a smaller sample first. Of course the cashmere is thicker than cotton, but I thought it might work.  I was a bit nervous about ruining the scarf – with all the dipping and swishing, what happened if it felted, or the chemicals ruined the softness? – but kept telling myself that it had only cost £1.

So I stitched, pulled up, wet and dipped several times. When I undid the stitching, I could feel the ridges where the stitches had been pulled up, and wondered whether the cashmere had felted slightly in the areas that were exposed to the indigo. However, I liked the texture, and even after rinsing and drying it I can still feel slight ridges.

Overall, I think the scarf may be too narrow for this type of pattern and I could have stitched across the entire width. But I do like the slightly textured effect, and it’s made me want to try out more shibori on wool. Probably not cashmere(!) but maybe as part of the felting process.

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2 thoughts on “Shibori on cashmere”

  1. This looks great. I have done very few projects where half way through I don’t think that it is going to be a complete disaster. Plus, that is a ton of cashmere for that price.

    1. Kendall – I find that, particularly with shibori and felting. With shibori I always think didn’t stitch/clamp/wrap it tightly enough, there won’t be enough contrast. But by the time the piece is rinsed, washed and hung to dry, the contrast is usually OK – even if I’m not happy with the pattern. 😉

      And with felting, especially in 3D, I often felt inside out, especially if I’m adding delicate bits of wool or fabric. So I’m never sure how the final piece will look until the last minute. All adds to the excitement.!

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